Raising Chickens and Poultry for Home Pest Control

Tired of slugs and bugs destroying your garden? Tired of picking ticks off your children and pets? Did you realize that birds on the farm aren’t just for eating; they can also play an important part in keeping all kinds of pests at bay? Chickens, ducks, turkeys and guinea fowl are not only entertaining and beautiful, but they can supply fresh eggs daily, offer effective bug and slug control, and make charming gardening companions to boot. Ridding your yard and garden of pests with these animated insecticides is the ultimate low-cost, chemical-free approach. (For more on ducks, see “Raising Ducks will Help Your Garden Patch.”)

Sound the alarm

Looking a bit like chicken-sized vultures, guinea fowl strut their stuff across lawns, fields or gardens – anywhere bugs, snakes and rodents roam. Some suggest that their shrill cackle sounds like chicken claws scratching on a chalkboard. But to gardeners, these bizarre birds are on patrol – pest patrol. Any bird with a call like “buckwheat!” and a more or less naked helmeted head must have some redeeming qualities. These voracious eaters devour Lyme disease-bearing ticks, fleas, Japanese beetles, June bugs and many other uninvited creatures. And to top it all off, your crop is quite safe when you put guineas on garden patrol.

Guinea hens and roosters have keen eyesight. Not only do they spot pests from afar, but they also announce the approach of intruders with their distinctive call. Unfamiliar sights or sounds will always create a fuss, but the guinea hen is much more noisy than the guinea cock. The male calls out only when there is good reason, and when he calls out a warning, the rest of the guineas chime in, which creates an intimidating alarm.

More about Raising Chickens and Poultry for Home Pest Control by Pam Maynard on Grit